(En) Counter Strike : Why Those Young Men Aren’t Watching TV

Discussion dans 'Actualité' créé par medleouf, 31 Octobre 2003.

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  1. Offline
    medleouf Touriste
    The numbers have network executives scratching their heads. You may have read the news story a few days ago: three weeks into the new television season, and viewers still haven't shown up.

    The fall-off in viewership is unprecedented, and among no group is this more the case that young males between 18 and 24, a prime target group for advertisers. Among this cohort, the drop in viewership has been an astounding 20 percent this year compared to last, which showed a 12 percent drop in men 18-34.

    Not surprisingly, with hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising at stake from lost future revenues to pay-backs on unfulfilled guarantees, there is a lot of explaining going on from every quarter. Some observers blame a poor crop of new shows this season; though it is hard to detect any profound differences from years past. Others suggest that the network season kick-off has been disrupted by a very intense World Series — but that excuse could also be used for seeing more viewers, not just fewer.

    Meanwhile, some network executives are blaming Nielsen Media Research, the folks who measure viewer ratings, claiming that the firm's methodology is faulty in this new era of digital cable boxes and satellite dishes. Nielsen, of course, disagrees — and even if the claims are true, it's still hard to imagine how they could account for such a radical drop-off.

    Frankly, the networks have reason to be scared, and not just about this season's revenues. A displacement of this magnitude very possibly signals a massive shift taking place just below the surface of our society. It may even mark the beginning of the end of the dominance of television in American life.

    What's causing this cultural earthquake? It's called, appropriately, Counter-Strike. It's a computer game, and even as you read this, thousands of young men (and a few hundred young women) are playing it on the Internet — instead of watching TV.

    Now, I don't mean Counter-Strike alone is literally undermining television. But as the leading representative of a new class of online experiences, it is playing a pivotal role in the creation of a new youth subculture in America — one that has little time or interest in traditional television.

    What is Counter-Strike all about? I'm no expert, and frankly, if the game appealed enough to me to become one, it would probably be of little interest to 18-to-24-year-old guys. But I do know some basics about the game, and for the rest I've relied on Andrew Sun, the 15-year-old high school sophomore who lives next door. On the advice of my own 12-year-old son, himself a budding Counter-Striker, Andrew has been my Virgil into this alternative, often violent, reality.

    I've known Andrew since he was a little kid. At 6 feet 4 inches he isn't little any more. Nor does he fit the old slacker stereotype of a computer gamer: on the contrary, he's an A-student, plays classical piano, and is on his school's varsity swim team.

    In other words, Andrew not only isn't every parent's nightmare, he's this country's greatest hope. And, as busy as his schedule is, Andrew still manages to play Counter-Strike several hours each day. TV? "Naah," says Andrew, "It doesn't really interest me that much."

    Instead, he spends his time after homework instant messaging and playing online.

    A while back I wrote in this space about the Sims phenomenon. Counter-Strike is like the Sims in the respect that it rewards deep participations and allows for ever greater levels of complexity.

    But that's where the comparison ends: where the Sims is relatively benign and domestic, Counter-Strike is wildly violent and exotic. It involves teams of terrorists and counter-terrorists fighting and killing each other in ominous, usually urban, settings. In other words, it is the perfect game for boys in this age group.

    A Global Phenomenon

    OK, so big deal: another bloody shoot-em-up to horrify parents and thrill kids. But if that was all Counter-Strike was, it (and its counterparts like Diablo II and Unreal Tournament) would hardly have become the cultural tsunamis it has become. No, it goes much deeper, as Andrew has explained to me.

    Counter-Strike is, in fact, a variant (a "mod") of a slightly older, and even more celebrated game, called Half-Life. Half-Life made its name as a single-user computer game; Counter-Strike, by comparison, is purely a product of the Web, and, as such, enables large numbers of individuals (a couple hundred per server) to form teams and play against each other. It's that simple, but the implications are enormous.

    According to Andrew, the team play factor is everything. The months following the introduction of Counter-Strike saw an explosion of teams, or "clans" from around the world forming to compete in the game. These clans, with tags like Ecolithic and SK, typically began as groups of friends, like Andrew's buddies at Homestead High School. But as competition and contact grew, increasingly other players from geographically diverse locations were recruited [these days the most powerful clans are Scandinavian].

    Tournaments also began to appear, and with them, a group of players so expert that they went professional (the Cyberathlete Professional League), complete with sponsors. Today, some of these pros can make as much as $100,000 per year.

    This being tech, it wasn't long before various "mods" of Counter-Strike also appeared, as did specialized software to produce unique weapons, "skins" and skills. So did cheat software — followed, of course, by a small army of volunteer administrators to try to keep the process relatively honest.

    An Online, and Offline, Community

    You may be thinking this is nothing more than the latest teen tempest in a teapot. And you are right. But it isn't Counter-Strike that's important, but what has become of it and its army of players. And here things get interesting.

    You see, because Counter-Strike is an online team activity, it is human nature that the team members will be curious about each other. Technology helps here as well: If your PC has a microphone, you can also talk to other participants as you play.

    The inevitable result is that geographically diverse teams have begun to extend their contact beyond cyberspace into real life: Clan gatherings, barbecues, reunions, etc. Faces are getting attached to tags — a process that will get even more blurred in the not-distant future when you'll be able to put your own face on your game character. Game superstars are being created, and a new argot is being devised.

    In other words, we are seeing (or more accurately, failing to notice) the rise of a new sub-culture, formed online but increasingly encompassing everyday life. If you look closely it's everywhere — not just in Counter-Strike and its counterparts, or in the Sims Universe, but also in the vast encyclopedia sites like Everything2.

    In Korea, a game called Lineage attracts 150,000 players each night. And new technology is being introduced to allow an unlimited number of players to compete simultaneously without the constraints of individual servers.

    Something big is emerging here. And it is ready to erupt through the surface of society. Technological changes like this always arrive with a bang — one day you've never heard of it, the next you, and millions of others like you, are immersed in it. It is only in retrospect that you see that there were some warnings, some omens, you never noticed. I think this recent collapse of young male television viewers is one of them.

    As I type this, it's late at night and the neighborhood is asleep — except for one light at the home across the way.

    It's not the glow of a TV. Andrew Sun is playing Counter-Strike.

    medleouf, 31 Octobre 2003
  2. Offline
    Shaqster Touriste
    en fr quoi :?
    Shaqster, 31 Octobre 2003
  3. Offline
    Jo_ m00
    trop fort la news :D
    Jo_, 31 Octobre 2003
  4. Offline
    medleouf Touriste
    lol tu penses que j vai m amuser a traduire, tout le monde a des cours d anglais de nos jours ca va pas vous tuer d essayer de comprendre
    medleouf, 31 Octobre 2003
  5. Offline
    VInsS Touriste
    esseye de comprendre kelke ligne OK mais un texte de 3 pages non thx :x ;)
    VInsS, 31 Octobre 2003
  6. Offline
    SkYlEsS Kawai
    Tu n'as pô tort ...
    SkYlEsS, 31 Octobre 2003
  7. Offline
    - Lo0 Elite
    Naaah mais tu pourais faire un chti resumer :D

    Moi je lai lu et g compris un bon 15% juste lessentiel koa. Mais bon je sort dune part de cs et ce jeux commence a me souler (svre koi la 1,6 :/) Dailleur jve me faire un ptit FFVIII (koi stun vieux jeux ?)

    Bon je resume pour les nul (en nalgais bien sur :wink: )

    Alors faudra me coriger,

    Il y a de moins en moins de tele-spectateur en Amerique, surtout cher les 18-24 ans, la cause serais counter-strike pq ? ben heu paske il y des cyber contact, il sont de plus en plus sur ce jeux violent et exotique (exotique je c pas pq ). Il y a mtn une cyber athlete leage ou certain joueur peuve gagner juska 100 000$ puis suis crever jpasse le relait a kelkun dotre dsl...
    - Lo0, 31 Octobre 2003
  8. Offline
    Havane Funky fresh Masta
    Moui enfin logiquement on peut penser que si tu le poste ... c'est que ta tt lu et tt compris et que donc t capable de faire un chti résumé :p
    Havane, 1 Novembre 2003
  9. Offline
    Marco [HOONIGAN]

    Thx .. c est deja ca .. Qlq saurait resumé les 75% autres ?
    Marco, 1 Novembre 2003
  10. Offline
    [S4u]Sifu Elite
    [S4u]Sifu, 1 Novembre 2003
  11. Offline
    jestrO - Rhune ex membre
    gg briiice :D , tout lu, presk tout compris :p
    j adore la fin avec

    "As I type this, it's late at night and the neighborhood is asleep — except for one light at the home across the way.

    It's not the glow of a TV. Andrew Sun is playing Counter-Strike."

    wow... :D
    jestrO - Rhune, 2 Novembre 2003
  12. Offline
    buchiste Chops from Outerspace
    chouette article, on est loin de 7 à 8 :)

    un truc m'a quand meme fait poiler

    'These clans, with tags like Ecolithic and SK...'

    lol :D
    buchiste, 3 Novembre 2003
  13. Offline
    jestrO - Rhune ex membre

    klr ca m avait frappé egalement :D :wink:
    jestrO - Rhune, 3 Novembre 2003
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